Divers have returned to the river where Nicola Bulley drowned, it was revealed today.
Specialists were filmed in Lancashire’s River Wyre less than a mile from the bank where the mother-of-two was last seen on January 27, sparking a massive 23-day manhunt.
Mrs Bulley’s partner, Paul Ansell, 44, raised the alarm after a villager saw their spaniel running loose close to a bank overlooking the river. Her cell phone was left on the couch.
Dr James Adeley, senior coroner for Lancashire, has asked Lancashire Police to return to the water for investigative work to help confirm her cause of death and what happened before she was found in the reeds on February 20.
Footage from the scene shows divers working in the Wyre at the weir on Tuesday 4 April.
A spokesman for HM Coroner said: ‘The investigation will take time to ensure that the fullest possible picture of the facts surrounding Mrs Bulley’s death is presented to the inquest. This will help the family understand what happened.’
Divers are back in the river where Nicola Bulley was found dead in February – 23 days after she disappeared
The coroner has ordered Lancashire Police to return to assist in Nicola’s upcoming inquest, which will determine her cause of death
Nicola Bulley, pictured with her partner Paul Ansell, disappeared on Jan. 27 while walking her dog. She was found dead 23 days later
Images from the divers show police activity on Tuesday, April 4.
The divers can be seen wading through the water next to the weir near where the 45-year-old’s phone and her dog Willow were found the morning she disappeared.
The divers climbed over the weir and had swam ‘on its back’ in the water.
They were then filmed wading through the water at various depths.
Mrs Bulley’s body was found a mile downstream from the weir on 19 February, among reeds and undergrowth, but a cause of death has not been made public.
An inquest into her death will be heard on Monday 26 June at County Hall in Preston.
Lancashire Police confirmed the divers have returned to the River Wyre as part of the investigation into Nicola Bulley’s death.
“We can confirm that it is we who are carrying out some work on behalf of HM Coroner,” a police spokesman told the Lancashire Post.
Lancashire Police are facing several inquiries into the handling of the case.
Police were widely criticized for revealing Ms Bulley’s struggles with alcohol and perimenopause two weeks after she disappeared at the river near St Michael’s on Wyre.
Lancashire Constabulary also declined to comment on why it took 23 days for Ms Bulley’s body to be found, as well as dealing with social media sleuths who filmed themselves in backyards looking for the 45-year-old mortgage adviser.
Her body was discovered by psychic Jason Rothwell. An inquest into her death was opened and later adjourned in February. Coroner Dr James Adeley told the four-minute hearing at Preston Coroner’s Court that Ms Bulley had been identified from dental records.
He added that the rest of the evidence “requires further evaluation” and no cause of death was given. The judicial investigation will resume this summer.
The Independent Bureau of Police Behavior has already launched an investigation into Ms Bulley’s past contact with the police. An officer conducted a welfare check at her home 17 days before she went missing.
And the Information Commissioner’s Office – which focuses on data privacy – has made an initial inquiry with the power to understand the reasons for the release of Ms Bulley’s personal information at a press conference.
Mother-of-two Nicola Bulley (pictured) was discovered in the River Wyre in Lancashire more than three weeks after her disappearance
Police had searched the area where Nicola was found twice before a member of the public discovered her body in the reeds
Police had searched the stretch of river where Nicola was found at least twice.
Professional teams had scoured the River Wyre since the mother of two disappeared.
Yet it was a man and woman taking a simple Sunday stroll that sparked a massive police operation that has left Mrs Bulley’s family heartbroken.
The pair saw something in a spur of trees and undergrowth along the bank and called emergency services at 11:36 am.
With the entire area on high alert, two police officers rushed to the scene. A witness saw the man point to the reeds and tell an officer, “It was a body. It’s down there. It was a woman’s body. There’s definitely a body down there.’
The walker was heading to the spot near the bank when one of the police officers launched a drone to take a closer look. Within minutes, a force helicopter was on the scene, the sound of its rotors echoing across the surrounding fields, alerting the media. Police patrol cars soon followed.
Officers aggressively cleared the area as a huge cordon was set up, a sign of the pressure cooker the Lancashire Constabulary was in.
After police vans and officers on foot secured a half-mile radius around the crime scene, divers entered the water shortly before 2 p.m., just as Detective Rebecca Smith, the senior investigating officer, arrived.
Word of the police activity quickly spread around St Michael’s on Wyre.
And within half an hour, a 104-word statement released by police headquarters near Preston described how the divers had ‘entered the water and unfortunately recovered a body’.